Research in my group focuses on the materials science and processing of coatings, ceramics and composites. The emphasis is on processing and microstructure control, but some projects also explore the important connections between the structure and the properties. Research projects are collaborative, involving other faculty and colleagues in industry.
A major area of research is coatings. Many products are made by coating processes (e.g., adhesive tapes, magnetic storage media, flexible electronics), while others are coated to improve their performance (e.g., laptop screens, biomedical devices, windows). Research in the Coating Process Fundamentals Program of IPRIME (Industrial Partnership in Interfacial and Materials Engineering) addresses fundamental scientific and engineering challenges in coatings. My coatings research explores processing and microstructure development of coatings prepared by deposition of a liquid (solution, monomer, dispersion of particles) followed by drying or curing. In collaboration with Profs. A.V. McCormick and S. Kumar, we study drying, solidification, patterning and stress development, and microstructure development in coatings. Coating systems of current interest are colloidal ceramics, sol-gel derived ceramics, polymers and ceramic/polymer composites. Experimental probes include cryo-scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, surface probe microscopies, bending of coated elastic beams. microrheology and infrared spectroscopy. Theory-based modeling of drying, microstructure and stress development accompanies the experimental work. Processing and structural development studies are often coupled with investigations of coating properties including optical, electrical, and mechanical properties. In collaboration with Profs. Frank Bates, we are working on specific coating systems based on block copolymers and with Prof. Michael Tsapatsis, we are designing coatings for catalytic applications.A new area of interest is processing fundamentals for flexible electronics and solar cells. We are collaborating with Prof. C.D. Frisbie on roll-to-roll processes for flexible circuits. Here the emphasis is on developing fine patterns and multilayer structures.
- S. Baesch, K. Price, P. Scharfer, W. Schabel, and L. F. Francis, “Influence of the drying conditions on the particle distribution in particle filled polymer films,” Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification 123 (2018) 138-147.
- R. Balzarotti, C. Cristiani and L. F. Francis, “Spin coating deposition on complex geometry substrates: Influence of operative parameters” Surface and Coatings Technology, 330 (2017) 1-9.
- D. Song, A. Mahajan, E. B. Secor, M. C. Hersam, L. F. Francis, C. D. Frisbie, “High-Resolution Transfer Printing of Graphene Lines for Fully Printed, Flexible Electronics”, ACS Nano 11 (2017) 7431-7439.
- Y. Du, J. Xu, J. D. Sakizadeh, D. G. Weiblen, A. V. McCormick and L. F. Francis, “Modulus and Surface-Energy-Tunable Thiol-ene for UV Micromolding of Coatings, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 9 (2017) 24976-24986.
- B. L. Greenberg, Z. L. Robinson, K. V. Reich, C. Gorynski, B. N. Voigt, L. F. Francis, B. I. Shklovskii, E. S. Aydil, and U. R. Kortshagen, “ZnO Nanocrystal Networks Near the Insulator-Metal Transition: Tuning Contact Radius and Electron Density with Intense Pulsed Light,” Nano Letters, 17 (2017) 4634-4642.
- W. J. Hyun, E. Secor, C-H, Kim, M. C. Hersam, L. F. Francis and C. D. Frisbie “Scalable, Self-Aligned Printing of Flexible Graphene Micro-Supercapacitors,” Adv. Energy Mater. 7 (2017) 1700285.
- A. M. P. Boelens, J. J. dePablo, S. Lim, L. F. Francis, B Y. Ahn, and J. A. Lewis, “Visualization and simulation of the transfer process of index-matched silica microparticle inks for gravure printing,” AIChE Journal, 63 (2017) 1419-1429
- B. A. Williams, N. D. Trejo, A. Wu, C. S. Holgate, L. F. Francis and E. S. Aydil, “Copper-Zinc-Tin-Sulfide Thin Films via Annealing of Ultrasonic Spray Deposited Nanocrystal Coatings “ ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 9 (2017) 18865-18871.
- A. M. Karim, W. J. Suszynski, L. F. Francis, M. S. Carvalho, “Effect of viscosity on liquid curtain stability,” AIChE Journal, published online Nov 2017.
- R. K. Lade, E. Hippchen, C. W. Macosko, and L. F. Francis, “Dynamics of Capillary-Driven Flow in 3D Printed Open Microchannels“, Langmuir 33 (2017) 2949−2964.
- D. J. Castro, J. O. Song, R. K. Lade and L. F. Francis, “Magnetic Microrheology for Characterization of Viscosity in Coatings,” pp. 115-136 in Protective Coatings: Film Formation and Properties (M. Wen Ed.) Springer (2017).
- K. Price, A. V. McCormick, and L. F. Francis “Cryo-SEM: Revealing Microstructure Development in Drying Coatings,” pp. 137-152 in in Protective Coatings: Film Formation and Properties (M. Wen Ed.) Springer (2017).
- K. Price, W. Wu, A. V. McCormick, L. F. Francis “Measurements of Stress Development in Latex Coatings,” pp. 225-240 in Protective Coatings: Film Formation and Properties (M. Wen Ed.) Springer (2017).